More than 240 federal inmates have slipped away from custody in the past three years while traveling to halfway houses, including several who committed bank robberies and a carjacking while on the lam, the Associated Press reports. Some of the inmates who absconded from 2012 through 2014 were reported by prison officials to have histories of violence and misconduct while in priso. The federal Bureau of Prisons each year permits thousands of inmates it considers low risk to serve the final months of their sentences at halfway houses where counseling, job placement and other services are offered. These inmates travel unescorted, often by bus.
Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that 327 inmates were placed on escaped status during those years. About 65 of them were simply late arrivals, though the circumstances of their tardiness are not detailed. Most of the escapes occurred as inmates were traveling without escort from a prison to a halfway house. The remaining few took place during travel for social, medical or other purposes that were not specified. The bureau could not say how many who fled have since been apprehended. The escapees are a small fraction of the 30,000 who travel unescorted to halfway houses each year. “It’s an unfortunate reality that a number of these individuals are not going to succeed,” said agency spokesman Ed Ross “But they have certainly been given the opportunities to prepare themselves the entire time while they’re in prison.”